Saturday, May 29, 2010


First we took in the breakfast buffet across the state line. Then this afternoon we saw Letters to Juliet at the local movie-plex and it was delightful. I'm ready to travel to Italy -- if only it didn't require a 12+ hour plane ride. After the movie we stopped by our favorite grocery and picked up a brisket and some onion soup mix and a huge round steak for later in the week. Also Hubby got a shopping cart full of fruit and came home to make us a luscious fruit salad while I cooked the brisket in the oven. After a little nap I paid the bills on line to round out the day. Now it will be an evening of PBS TV watching (all the Brit coms, of course) and computer games. Summertime is proving to be welcome respite.

Friday, May 28, 2010


The first day of summer and it was slow, sweet, and perfect.

Hubby took me to the matinee to see the new Queen Latifa movie -- Just Wright -- and it was, actually, just right with a happy ending even. Then we ate at a new Chinese buffet in the theater complex and got to fill up on butter shrimp and crab baked in cheese. Then we came home to take a nap.

The long, lazy days of summer lie ahead. We have minimal plans though I work through the first week of June and have grad school to attend in July. The bedroom is the target room this summer. Hubby has acquired a case of chickens for us to cook-up. Gus needs a teeth cleaning. I'm looking for a private dentist for the family. The nights will now extend into the wee morning hours and I don't plan to get up until nearly noon. Yes, a slow, sweet summer lies ahead.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Sister (Hubby's oldest sister) died last Saturday. He flew out this morning to Washington, DC for her funeral service, which is tomorrow. His whole family, those still living, are descending on DC to be in attendance.

We have been fielding calls all week from far-flung relatives inquiring if Hubby actually was going to attend. Interestingly, though Hubby is the most remote from the family and stayed away from them with no contact for nearly half a century, he is the one Sister's family has turned to, to provide Sister's side of the family information. Her husband, James, depended on Hubby to notify the entire East Coast clan, though we actually had no working phone numbers for them when we started out.

Then, of course, came the requests for music. Hubby has finally admitted that singing now is probably not on the agenda, but it did make us realize that Hubby needed to be in attendance. So we quickly acquired a round trip non-stop flight and rental cal for Hubby and I took a bereavement day from school to make sure that Hubby had wheelchair access on both ends of the flight.

We got Hubby off early this morning, though I dropped him at the wrong building in our three building airport and he missed the first flight. Still, it seems they got him out in a pretty timely manner and right now he's in DC coping with family business.

Sunday he returns, probably exhausted from the crush of family emotions but we are glad that he has had this chance to once again say goodbye to his sister who was so kind in the last several years -- and to see his entire family one more (and probably last) time. Jake is coming from Philly and he's 97. Hubby turned 75 in March. There is a two year difference between Hubs and Wiley (he's either 73 or 77 -- I can't remember). Those are the only siblings left of the once active 13 family members. Of course, cousins and nieces and nephews are all planning on coming. Sister had two sons, neither of whom married. And James' family will be there. I'm rather sorry not to get to see the whole clan gathered for one more reunion.

I'm glad, though, that I got to meet Sister last year and spend time with her. We laughed and told family stories and I enjoyed her immensely. She lived her life on her own terms, working right up to the day before she died at age 93. It has been an honor to know her.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Defeat or Success?

For me it's the time of year when I have to decide if the glass is half full or half empty. Do I make lemonade in tall frosty glasses or ugly faces at the sour taste of the unsweetened raw fruit?

I haven't posted for some time because I was waiting. . . My school district delayed notifying "laid-off" staff for a full month -- from April 15th until May 15th. They had up until last night to tell me I would not have a job next year. I think I would have been surprised to learn I had been released -- but I wouldn't have been shocked out of my socks. I am, I am now fairly assured, gainfully employed for next school year at which time I will have worked for the district five full years and be granted tenure.

But with that news, I have to decide how to position myself into a whole new and unanticipated change in my status within my school. I'm still a SPED collaborative teacher but all my lovely classes, so thoughtfully and diligently developed, planned, and structured to meet district standards have been summarily canceled. I am thrown back solely into collaborative mode, depending on the whims of the general education teacher -- and I am vastly disappointed.

I really worked to develop what the district called my "triangle" classes. "Life skill" students take basic remedial educational classes -- how to tell time, count money, wash clothes. Gen ed students take "benchmark" classes. My SPED students who could learn the benchmarks but just not as quickly and wade through so much material were called the triangle kids. I loved teaching them. I have a real knack for it. My test scores have ranked with the gen ed kids this year.

My local school was also on board with my classes -- in fact, they developed them for me. Another high school in the district liked them so much they adopted our approach. Then the ugly head of bureaucracy got involved -- with anger that "she" had not been consulted and did not have control of what we were doing on the local level. The district director got more and more worked up throughout this year, until she finally had a show down with the school principals and all the triangle classes were canceled at a meeting that was rescheduled twice to make sure than none of the affected parties would be in attendance.

Now I have no idea what I'm going to be doing next year. I'm hoping that as my school department chair assures me in gentle, dulcet tones, we do have some wiggle room and things will work out. I think, the reality is, that due to all the current budge cuts and with the new "curriculum" procedure the district has mandated for next year along the federal scrutiny we are under, I'm probably going to be facing a very, very difficult year. And my kids are going to have it even tougher.

Meanwhile I've got the end of the school year to get through -- two more weeks. "Will I have you for English next year, Miss?" the students ask me as they watch the schedules being made. Last week I assured them they would. This week I've got to tell them, "No." This will be hard on us all.

On a very sad note, Hubby was informed early this morning that Sister, the lovely woman in D.C. who had hosted us at her spectacular Chesapeake Bay house, died late last night. She was funny and smart and generous to us. She was Hubby's closest tie to his family and we shall miss her greatly.